NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

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NHI independent review
CHRISSY BANKS: DAYS OF FIRE AND FLOOD
Original Plus
17 High Street
Maryport,
Cumbria
CA15 6BQ
UK
ISBN 0 9546801 2 X
8.95

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CHRISSY BANKS: DAYS OF FIRE AND FLOOD

Many poems, concerning exterior events or fantasies, lead skilfully back to the poet's own problems, even sometimes when the 'you' word is used and is nothing more than a retro-action to the self.

There is a wrestling with emotional problems and fear or caution in dealing with them in THE LITTLE MERMAID, using the fish tail and human torso conjoinment as an analogy for disparate behaviour characteristics:

	I know a cave that's neither one
	world nor the other, where I

	am neither woman nor a fish.
	Nothing is anything in there 

	except for darknes, emptiness,
	my heart pulsating like a star

	and fear which amplifies the void
	to one rapacious open mouth.
It is not an easy poem to follow if one stops to analyse. One of the prefaces describes it as 'a profoundly serious exploration of identity.' In other poems sexual coupling is obviously a priority, blanking out the philosophical considerations. Identity is lost in the sex-fire. Thus in THE GREED OF NOW AND YES
	but the hot imperative of flesh
	was once more gathering
and in HEATWAVE
	I'm on fire tonight. Unzip
	my dress . . . . Place your lips there
	and drink me.
Loss of identity is also mulled over in UNION:
	we are a chinese puzzle

	somewhere your end and my beginning
	somewhere your beginning and my end

	whats more
	my breast is wedged inside your throat
	your heart pulsates against my tongue
	our hands are tied
Readers would probably not find all these sex and identity quests a bit of a bore because of Banks's skills in providing exciting and enticing poetic techniques, and there are other poems to read which give more level playing fields than personal emotional ups and downs, such as SIX WAYS TO MAKE AN IMPACT ON A WALL, FLOOD,and DESIRE, which is fully externalised in a sequence about the plot of Herodias to make Herod grant Salome's request to have John the Baptist executed:
	As the last veil falls my mother
	rises, applauds; and Herod grants me
	anything I ask for, anything.
And although perhaps 8.95 is slightly high, I believe most purchasers will also be granted satisfaction along with receipt of this collection.

reviewer: Eric Ratcliffe.